UKZN Virtual Graduation

A family that studies together, graduates together!

Drs Niren (Ray) Maharaj and Jayneetha (Jenny) Maharaj

The School of Law in the College of Law and Management Studies congratulates medical specialists Drs Niren (Ray) Maharaj and Jayneetha (Jenny) Maharaj on being awarded their Master of Laws degrees with specialisation in Medical Law.

Ray Maharaj, who obtained a cum laude pass, adds to his other qualifications which include an MBChB, Diploma in Obstetrics, MMED (Obstetrics & Gynaecology), FCOG (SA), BSc, and a PhD. He is the Head of Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital and a lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at UKZN’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine.   

Jenny Maharaj is a specialist family physician who holds an MBChB, MMED FAM MED, MCFP, FCFP and a Diploma in HIV Medicine. She has an interest in infectious diseases and works in the MDR TB Unit based at King Dinizulu Hospital, where she also served as acting Head of the Department of Family Medicine. Her thesis, entitled: The HEAL study – the health, ethical and legal implications of non-adherence to treatment amongst patients infected with tuberculosis, was driven by the challenges she experiences in achieving treatment adherence in this group of patients.

Ray Maharaj’s thesis was entitled: Medical malpractice disputes in South Africa: The potential role of mediation as an alternate dispute resolution mechanism. His choice of topic was driven by concerns regarding the exponential rise in medical malpractice claims against the state, as well as declining interest among specialists to remain in high risk fields such as Obstetrics and Paediatric Neurosurgery.

The medics said that they have garnered new knowledge in medical law, and were particularly enlightened by aspects of intellectual property and patent law in relation to access to medicines, which exposed them to the harsh reality of prohibitive patent laws and global trade agreements. ‘These entities are entangled in a complex web which sometimes hinders access to essential medications, affecting the most vulnerable in the developing world,’ commented Ray Maharaj.

The couple, who also graduated together in 2016, described their back to school experience as ‘refreshing and enlightening’. They commented: ‘We would like to thank all our mentors, friends and family, as well as  our colleagues in the School of Law, particularly Professors Yusuf Vawda and Donrich Thaldar for their inspiration, friendliness and guidance.’  

In her spare time, Jenny enjoys gardening and experimenting with new recipes, whilst Ray is a do it yourself enthusiast, with an interest in vintage cars and other hobbies. The couple advise young students to stay focused and committed as they acquire new knowledge and skills in their careers.  They hope to work more closely with their colleagues in the Schools of Law and Clinical Medicine to create awareness and promote social justice in achieving a balance between human rights, intellectual property and access to medicines.

Congratulating the duo, Professor Donrich Thaldar said: ‘Ray and Jenny are problem solvers with a sincere desire to make a difference in public healthcare. It was a pleasure and an honour to supervise them!’